Police: Shootout in Marion stemmed from ongoing drug problem

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MARION, Ark. -- A man and a teenager were locked up after a shootout in Marion, Arkansas on Monday night.

Police said the shooting happened from an apparent drug deal that took a wrong turn.

The juvenile and Thedric Morton were charged with possession of a controlled substance.

While no one was seriously hurt and the shooting victim is expected to survive, the incident marked the first shooting of the year in the small town.

Police said the shooting was a symptom of a bigger problem in the neighborhood -- drugs.

Larry Hurst has called the area known as "The Dollhouses" home for 15 years.

He has seen the neighborhood change.

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"That's the biggest problem we got nowadays is drugs," Hurst told WREG.

Marion Police Department detectives said the community is known for trafficking drugs -- especially marijuana.

"This little community has maybe about 4 or 5 streets. Certain streets are heavily populated with crime," LaDonna Johnson said.

On Monday night, the reality of a growing drug problem set in after shots were fired.

Police said the shootout on Chestnut was an example of how drugs can quickly bring violence.

"You shoot them in the air, they have to come down," Johnson said. "They're going to land somewhere."

"It's a concern because one of them bullets could have came in my house and hit one of my kids," Gregory Fowler told WREG.

Many people who live in the area said officers are doing all they can.

"The police does patrol this area quite a bit," Hurst explained. "They do, but they can't catch them all."

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However, other residents believed law enforcement could do more to keep them safe.

"I hope that the police do better than what they're doing," Fowler said.

Johnson said fighting their neighborhood drug problem needs to start at home.

She said it will require help from the community.

"This is where you live at and it seems to me you'd want where you live at to be safe," she said.

While police could not provide exact statistics to how often they respond to drugs in the area, it is no secret that the people who live in the 'dollhouse' community said it is a problem.

Police are still investigating the Monday night shooting.

It is unclear if any additional charges will be filed.

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